National Rugby Fives Mixed Doubles Championship
Alleyn’s School, Dulwich
Sunday, 14th April 2019
STOP PRESS Eight pairs contested the inaugural Rugby Fives Mixed Doubles championship at Alleyn’s School. The event was won by Helena Tunks, who learned her Fives at Cambridge University, partnered by Douglas Law of the Durham University Fives Club; in the final they beat Bristol University student Louise Mathias and her partner Duncan Neale, Old Radleian and member of the UCS Old Boys Club. The Plate was won by Cambridge Ladies captain Lottie Simpson and her partner Bhaswar Baral of the Old Merchant Taylors’ Club.
Organiser Louise Mathias reports: The first ever Rugby Fives Mixed Doubles tournament was played alongside the finals of the National Doubles Championship this year at Alleyn’s. It was fantastic to see so many players getting involved, with 9 pairs competing in a handicap format. Despite a few hiccups in the morning — no electricity, a few calling in unwell, and Georgina’s train sending her back to Cambridge — play was soon underway with some very close pool matches.
The pool stage was played as 2 groups of four and five, 1 game to 15. In group one, Elsje Van Es, a new lady to the fives scene, and her partner Dan Whitham had a number of closely fought matches, a highlight being their game against Lottie Simpson & Bhaswar Baral. Excellent retrieving was seen from both pairs, but it was Elsje & Dan who finally emerged as winners with a score of 16-15. Emily O’Malley & Rupert Mathieu also proved a pair to be reckoned with, winning all their games to come out top of the group.
Meanwhile in group two, Julie McIntyre & Tom Webster had a game of long rallies against Holly Nugent & Abhishek Bhattacharya to finally come out on top 15-13. However, it was Louise Mathias & Duncan Neale and Helena Tunks & Douglas Law who came first and second in the group respectively and so went through to the semi-finals.
Pool matches over, attention was drawn to the spectacular 3-game final of the National Doubles championship, which provided additional excitement to the day and some inspiring play before the semi-finals took place.
In the semis, Helena & Douglas were challenged by Emily & Rupert but managed to maintain a steady lead, winning 15-11. Louise & Duncan won 15-3 against Elsje & Dan to join them in the final.
Meanwhile, the plate was in full swing, another pool of 5, ensuring plenty of fives for all! This again saw some closely contested games, with Lottie & Bhaswar stealing a win by just one point against Viola King Forbes & Dan Sorensen, the score 12-11. Showing lots of strong and consistent play in their other games as well, Lottie & Bhaswar went on to win the plate and gain themselves the bronze medal.
In the final, an exciting rematch of the first pool games between Helena & Douglas and Louise & Duncan, all players significantly upped their game. The first game went to Louise & Duncan 16-14, helped by Duncan’s unsuspecting drop-shot returns. In the second, however, Douglas’ powerful serves and Helena’s strong retrieving meant they made it one game all, winning 15-11. Despite some tactical water breaks by Duncan and some excellent nicks, Helena & Douglas pulled through in the third to become the very worthy winners of the inaugural Rugby Fives Mixed Doubles tournament. The final score was 14-16, 15-11, 15-9 — an excellent finish to an exciting day of fives.
Many thanks to Hamish for all his help. It was fantastic for the tournament to run alongside the National Doubles Championship and for us be able to watch the best in action. A great day was had by all. The next mixed tournament is happening on the Winchester Fives courts at Bradfield College on Sunday 12th May. Hope to see you there!!
Results (lady’s name first)
Pool A 1st Emily O’Malley & Rupert Mathieu 60 pts; 2nd Sarthak Garella & Oscar McIntyre* 55 pts; 3rd Elsje van Es and Dan Whitham 47 pts; 4th Lottie Simpson & Bhaswar Baral 37 pts; 5th Viola King Forbes & Dan Sorensen 16 pts
Pool B 1st Louise Mathias & Duncan Neale 45 pts; 2nd Helena Tunks & Douglas Law 31 pts; 3rd Julie McIntyre & Tom Webster 24 pts; 4th Holly Nugent & Abhishek Bhattacharya 18 pts
Semi-finals: Tunks & Law bt O’Malley & Mathieu 15-11; Mathias & Neale bt Van Els & Whitham 15-3
Final: Tunks & Law bt Mathias & Neale 14-16, 15-11, 15-9
Plate: 1st Simpson & Baral 34 pts; 2nd Nugent & Bhattacharya 30 pts; 3rd McIntyre & Webster 21 pts; 4th King Forbes & Sorensen 16 pts
* Ineligible for main draw